ALSO INSIDE DUBAI TRAM EXCLUSIVE SIEMENS’ CITY CEO DOHA FESTIVAL CITY
AHEAD OF THE REST Throw out the rule book, the systems and programmes because if you don’t take the lead a project will fail
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CONTENTS PAGE 34
M MIDDLE EAST
Big Project ME visits the site of the Dubai Tram Project in the UAE.
MARCH 2014 07 THE BIG PICTURE OMAN NATIONAL RAILWAY PROJECT POWERS AHEAD Pre-qualification tender for main contract to be floated soon
16 IN PROFILE THE SMART THINKER Dr Roland Busch explains what Siemens Infrastructure and Cities can do for the Middle East
22 SITE VISIT: DOHA FESTIVAL CITY DESTINATION CITY Big Project ME visits Qatar’s upcoming retail giant, Doha Festival City
28 INDUSTRY FOCUS FOLLOW THE LEADER How can contractors seize the initiative for the success of a project?
34 ON SITE: DUBAI TRAMWAY OPERATION READINESS Big Project ME makes an exclusive trip to the site of Dubai’s ambitious tram project
38 MARKET FOCUS: NORTH AFRICA NORTH AFRICA AWAKES Examining the construction potential of a typically challenging region
46 SPECIAL FEATURE: DRYWALLINGNG PREVENTIVELY DESIGNER DRYWALLS Big Project ME examines the growth of drywalling into design elements
50 SPECIAL FEATURE: SANITARY-WARE HOME ADVANTAGE Understanding the economics of the domestic sanitary-ware market
56 TENDERS MIDDLE EAST TOP TENDERS Listing the Middle East’s biggest construction tenders of the month
62 SHOW PREVIEW THE BIG 5 SAUDI Big Project ME previews The Big 5 Saudi Show 2014
64 CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM TIME FOR SOME TOUGH QUESTIONS Gavin Davids highlights the need for better enforcement of migrant workers’ rights
Money can buy the land. But ambition makes it a landmark.
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M MIDDLE EAST
FM – Earn your right If you wanted to invite one person from each part of the construction industry to your dinner table, how many of you would be making room for a facilities manager? Traditionally, building has been a division of labour drawing in specialist expertise that all works towards the final ball point signature of handover. As the head of the PMI reminded me this month, there were practitioners of project management on sites, even before the term was coined. While architects and consultants have historically occupied the top of the pile position in the meritocracy; the execution has always been a bit of grey area. Thank goodness for project managers to organise this occasional chaos. Software like BIM is making construction a much more collaborative process and opening up routes into the design and management process that were previously closed off to those downstream from the big boy chat at the beginning. That has plugged project managers into a system and given us tools to make delivery a smoother, more refined process. Few project managers would argue that they need to be involved outside of the task of project delivery. I’ve met fewer still that have a strong persuasion regarding whether a building’s façade should be inspired by the organic, the modern or 19th Century Japan’s experimentation with Western-style design.
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Not so facility managers. An ever-more vocal cackle of FM firms are interesting themselves in the business of building design, potentially muddying not just who the construction is for, but also who has the final say. While they would like to be treated as consultants, I argue that in a region only just exploring the possibilities of new technology their participation should be limited. At least until they prove their value.
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Not because this is a sector that thinks employing a security guard who can stay awake for eight hours is an achievement, but because there is a huge leap from being invited for dinner as a plus-one and being allowed in the kitchen to taste the soup.
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THE BIGGEST PICTURE
ITALFERR TO DESIGN SULTANATE OF OMAN’S NATIONAL RAILWAY
$35MN AGREEMENT WILL SEE ITALFERR PROVIDE CONSULTANCY SERVICES FOR THE PRELIMINARY DESIGN CONTRACT OF THE NATIONAL RAILWAY PROJECT, OMAN SAYS THE MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT and Communication (MoTC) is expected to float a pre-qualification tender (PQT) for the main contract of the national railway project soon, according to HE Dr Ahmed al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communication. On 5 February, 2014, the MoTC signed an agreement with Italferr, the Italian State Railways Group engineering firm, for $35.26 million. The engineering firm will provide consultancy services for the preliminary design contract for the railway project. “The preliminary design work has already been initiated with the initial focus on the first leg of the railway network - from Buraimi to Sohar. The consultant is responsible for the preliminary design of the entire railway network of 2,244km,” said HE Dr Ahmed Al Futaisi.
He added that the tender for selecting the project management consultant was still with the Tender Board for evaluation but that he expected it to be awarded very quickly. “PMC is much required now as its role will be to review the preliminary design. It is clear that the preliminary design consultant is moving fast and has started submitting the drawings for the first segment. We need PMC to review and approve the designs and hope it will be appointed very soon.” Dr Al Futaisi added that the ministry would soon float two pre-qualification tenders, one for the main contractor for civil work (design and build) and the other for the systems contractor, the winner of which would be a subcontractor to the main contractor. He said they would be floated within the month of February.
RAILWAY NUMBERS n Italferr consultancy contract $35.26 million
n Total length of Oman national railway project 2,244km
n Total cost of the railway project $15 billion
n Network expected to be fully operational by 2018
“The qualified contractors will be eligible to bid for the first segment [Buraimi-Sohar] tender, as well as for tenders of other segments of the railway network during the four-year period. We will not conduct other pre-qualifications till four years pass. If we float the prequalifications this month, we expect to finalise the winner of the project by the end of this year. It means civil work will commence in the first quarter of 2015.” Luca Beccastrini, Middle East area manager for Italferr, said the firm had already started work on the preliminary design and that the design for the first segment of the railway project would be ready by the end of July this year. “The duration of the preliminary design contract is 25 months for the entire railway network. We are satisfied with the progress and expect to finish the work within the deadline,” he added.
BIG PROJECT ME VISITS DOHA FESTIVAL CITY TO SEE HOW QATAR’S BIGGEST MALL IS PROGRESSING – PAGE 22 7
THE BIG PICTURE
RTA TO BUILD $300MN, 12 LANE BRIDGE TO REPLACE FLOATING BRIDGE Construction contract for the Al Ittihad Bridge to be awarded by end of year
ABU DHABI MUNICIPALITY ANNOUNCES TENDER FOR YAS ISLAND COMMUNITY CENTRES Community centres will enhance neighbourhoods in Abu Dhabi, says Municipality THE MUNICIPALITY OF Abu Dhabi (ADM) city announced a tender enabling investors to build and operate community centres in Yas Island, Al Shamkha and Mohammed Bin Zayed City. Part of a strategic plan to provide convenient access to services and facilities, the move by ADM is expected to enhance living standards across the city following approval by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. The structure in Yas Island will span almost 22,000sqm, and the one in Mohammed Bin Zayed City will be around 26,000sqm. The community centre in Al Shamkha will be around 23,000sqm, and all centres will dedicate almost 6,000sqm to retail outlets. Additional facilities, such as restaurants, banking and gyms are also expected to be built in the centres. As per a report by local daily Gulf News, the ADM said that the latest batch of investment opportunities aims to enhance neighbourhoods in Abu Dhabi, and will also provide sustainable returns on investments. Under the build-operate-transfer model employed by the authority, approved developers will be granted rights to utilise municipal land, and will be able to develop and operate the facilities under a 30-year agreement.
$299.48 MILLION EXPECTED PROJECT COST FOR THE AL ITTIHAD BRIDGE
Dubai’s Floating Bridge will be replaced by a 12 lane bridge expected to ease traffic flow between Deira and Bur Dubai, the Roads and Transport Authority has announced. The contract for the Al Ittihad Bridge will be awarded by the end of the year, with the timeline for construction scheduled at three years, said Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the Board and executive director of the RTA. Construction of the bridge will
cost $299.48 million, he added. The 61.6m-wide bridge will have an inverted arch with a height of 100m. Its height from the creek will 15m, enabling marine traffic movement throughout the day. The bridge will extend from Dubai Creek Park in Bur Dubai to Deira City Centre. With a capacity to handle 24,000 vehicles per hour, Al Ittihad Bridge will ensure that the adjacent areas are free from traffic jams. Furthermore, in order to improve traffic situation between Bur Dubai and Deira, the Floating Bridge will be moved to near the Sheraton Hotel on Dubai Creek, linking Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Road in Bur Dubai to Omar Bin Al Khattab Road in Deira.
ARABTEC DIVERSIFICATION TARGETS INFRASTRUCTURE Construction giant to launch units focusing on infrastructure and energy and water DUBAI’S ARABTEC HOLDING has announced that it will set up five new subsidiaries as it looks to expand into new markets and infrastructure projects. According to a Reuters report, the construction giant will launch two new units that will focus on infrastructure projects inside and outside the UAE. Additionally, Arabtec will also launch a unit that will focus on water and energy projects, while another will focus on the Egyptian market, the company said in a bourse statement. The firm will also set up an investment arm, Arabtec Capital, which will provide global financial services, the report added. Earlier this year, Arabtec announced that it would look to create thousands of jobs for youth in the GCC and MENA regions, with the launch of a large-scale campaign targeting job creation. The recruitment campaign will begin in the UAE targeting young people looking to gain experience from various projects that Arabtec is involved in, and is expected to be implemented across the firm’s other locations soon.
MAN IN CONTROL Abdullah Hassan Ismaik, managing director and CEO of Arabtec
INDIVIDUAL LABOUR SAFETY IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF MANAGEMENT, BIG PROJECT ME TOLD – PAGE 12
THE BIG PICTURE
SAUDI CONTRACTORS CALL FOR MORE RECRUITMENT FIRMS DSI WINS $87.4MN MEP CONTRACT FOR KING SAUD UNIVERSITY
Labour losses lead contractors to demand for more short-term recruitment options FOLLOWING THE loss of time and profits due to Saudi Arabia’s recent crackdown on illegal labourers, contractor firms are encouraging the establishment of more recruitment firms that can provide legal workers to complete their projects. “We are waiting for labour recruitment firms to play a major role in importing expat construction workers to complete our projects which have been badly affected after the exit of thousands of our employees,” said Abdul Aziz
DSI-KSA will design, install, test and commission all electromechanical works for three buildings
Masnour, a Saudi contractor. Industry reports suggest 36% of construction projects in the country have been delayed by the labour crisis. Recruitment companies have already begun hiring out short-term workers on a yearly basis to construction companies. “We need time to activate the role of labor recruitment firms in the local market,” said Abdullah Radwan, chairman of the contractors committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI). “These firms have started working in coordination with the Ministry of Labour which has started issuing visas for expat workers. However, labor recruitment firms need the expertise to train workers before they can close the gap between demand and supply,” Radwan added. Scores of workers left the Kingdom after the government undertook measures to cleanse the labour market of illegal immigrants in a bid to increase local representation in the market.
Drake and Scull International PJSC (DSI) has been awarded a contract worth $87.4 million for MEP works at King Saud University in Riyadh. “The King Saud University contract further consolidates our presence in Saudi Arabia,” said Khaldoun Tabari, CEO of DSI. “With increased government expenditures towards infrastructure development, we expect positive movement in all the sectors in the coming year,” he said. DSI-KSA will design, install, test and commission all electro-mechanical works for three buildings at the university’s Endowment Projects, and the company expects to complete works by 2015.
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THE BIG PICTURE
USING CANDY SOFTWARE HELPED ME GO FREELANCE, SAYS ESTIMATOR Estimatingmanagers.com’s Farhan Aftab says software adoption helped Middle East bidding Farhan Aftab, executive consultant at Estimatingmanagers.com says that using cost control software like Candy can help in the tendering and estimating process. “I have had the privilege to be part of some very interesting bids which we priced solely with the help of Candy, such as Autoroute al Jadida Highway in Morocco (US$42 Million), Gulf University campus in Kuwait (US$45 Million) and Khalifa bin Salman port in
Bahrain (US$90 Million),”said Aftab. “Though different countries and dynamics of economies, it helped me to accumulate the diverse data in Candy and produce comprehensive reports to the decision makers. It is because of Candy, that I got the boost of venturing into my own freelance work. Being an estimator, one might has to get involved in pricing projects globally.” Aftab added: “One of the core features of estimating accurately is to be aware of the actual site conditions, the type and production of plant involved and the outputs of the laborers that will be used to execute the job. One can actually price each and every item the way it will be executed on site.”
TOO LITTLE TIME? Dr Al Nuaimi expects full completion of the Etihad Rail by 2016, but is unsure about the progress of GCC Rail
30% INCREASE ESTIMATED RISE IN NEW BUILD IN KSA
30% JUMP IN NEW BUILDINGS IN SAUDI EXPECTED Number of buildings in the Kingdom increased by 300% in the last decade
THE NUMBER OF new buildings in the Kingdom’s traditional neighbourhoods is expected to increase by around 30% following a recent decision in the country that allows a building to reach the maximum level of six storeys instead of the current three. Investors are now looking to demolish old buildings and replace them with additional housing units. As per a report by local daily Arab News, a source at the Ministry for Municipal and Rural Affairs said buildings have increased by 300% in the last decade.
“The number of permits has risen from 37,585 to 112,362 in the past 10 years or so,” the source said. Residents from major Saudi city Jubail had called for the private sector to upgrade and improve the city’s infrastructure after it was severely hit by floods earlier this year. The replacement building boom underway in traditional areas of the country is a cause of concern for some experts, who argue the infrastructure in these developments, built two to three decades ago, may not be equipped to handle larger developments.
SLOWDOWN PROBABLE ON ETIHAD RAIL DEVELOPMENT UAE’s rail network might be paused as GCC’s rail network is brought up to speed WORK ON THE Etihad Rail network might be slowed down in the near future. Minister of Public Works and chairman of the National Transport Authority (NTA), HE Dr Abdulla Behaif Al Nuaimi said the planned unified GCC rail is currently unsynchronised, as each member country has achieved only varying levels of their completion targets. “We had hoped the GCC network would be up and running by 2018,” said Dr Al Nuaimi. “However, at a meeting last year, we realised that some GCC members will possibly face delays in completion of their rail networks. “The concern for us, then, was whether to hold-off our development activities based on theirs,” he added. While Saudi Arabia and UAE are poised to meet their due date of 2018, countries such as Kuwait and Bahrain have faced logistical challenges, leading the construction industry to question their capacity to deliver the rail networks on time. “I think we should look into their programmes and integrate them with ours – we can’t finish our share and wait for the others to complete,” expressed Dr Al Nuaimi. While Dr Nuaimi refused to divulge any details about the commencement of operations on Phase 1 of Etihad Rail, he informed that the plans for a regulatory law for the rail industry was well on-track towards approval.
DRYWALLS ARE BEING REVAMPED INTO UNIQUE DESIGN ELEMENTS, BIG PROJECT ME FINDS OUT – PAGE 46
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NEWS ANALYSIS ON-SITE ACCIDENTS
OUT OF DANGER
With numerous on-site accidents occurring at construction sites, Big Project ME explores the case for labour education as a preventive solution
harjah’s Al Mamzar area, early in February 2014, was the unfortunate setting for a tragedy involing an Indian labourer. According to local daily Gulf News, the labourer passed after losing his balance off an under-construction building in the area. “The labourer was not wearing a safety helmet which led to a severe head injury and loss of life,” said a police official to the daily. Earlier, in January 2014, a report by The National had said health experts found construction labourers to be suffering ‘horrific’ injuries due to a lack of adherence to safety measures; these injuries included ‘nails embedded in the socket, chemical burns to the retina and hooks in the eye’, most often caused because the labourers in question did not wear the mandatory safety goggles on-site. Another report by the same publication mentioned the passing of two workers in Sharjah – a police spokesman had said at the time that the workers, employed to clean diesel tanks, entered the containers without appropriate safety measures. While four men were trapped in the tank, only two survived the incident, and were reportedly undergoing treatment at a local hospital. Unfortunately, these are far from the only construction accidents the country has seen of late; fire mishaps and building crashes have accounted for the high number of lives and material lost in UAE since the year began, and each incident makes a compelling case for the study of labour safety and precautionary measures. “Talking about safety is not a matter of technology, it’s also about a matter of processes for our industry,” Thibault Le Besnerais, global product manager for Manitowoc’s Potain Cranes told Big Project ME.
“We’re in an industry where lack of safety can have tragic consequences. “Safety is not only a feature, but also a culture,” Besnerais added. Often, it is the lack of this understanding that causes the labour accidents the industry has become a witness to. The UAE’s labourforce includes representation from various nationalities; almost 2.2 million Indians account for UAE’s workforce, in addition to 1.25 million Pakistanis, 500,000 Bangladeshis, and another million workers from other Asian countries, as per a report by The National. Not all expat workers in the UAE speak the same – or even similar – languages, nor may they fully comprehend the occupational hazards their job brings with it. Most companies undertake a myriad of training programmes aimed at reducing these cultural barriers and fostering a sense of inherent precaution in labourer groups.
“LABOURERS, LIKE ALL EMPLOYEES, ARE A GOOD INVESTMENT. IT IS THE PRACTITIONER’S DUTY TO VIEW THEM AS AN INVESTMENT S/HE CAN EDUCATE, WORK ON AND HONE”
Ivano Forcina, quality manager at Salcef explains his company’s policies regarding new in-house labourers. “We usually begin with an induction programme, which is broadly divided into a range of topics that impart knowledge about overall, basic safety measures, besides other specific issues. “The programmes may be indoor discussions and presentations, and are frequently supplemented with audio-visual aids. “As contractors for the rail industry, it also becomes essential for us to teach our workforce about the nitty-gritties of the job. Therefore, we cover specific topics that are strictly pertinent to rail operations and track construction, mostly roping in a lot of on-site training facilities here,” Forcina adds. Forcina’s colleague, Melchor Realingo explains the need to invest in labourer education. “Most labourers who find their way into UAE’s construction sites are uneducated,” says Realingo, safety manager at Salcef SPA. “It then becomes our responsibility to ensure we observe each labourer and study their weaknesses and interests to understand which activity would be best suited for them. “The labourers who repeatedly ignore safety measures are sent for retraining programmes, but that is a long-term process. Companies cannot inject adherence in the labourers’ mindset in a day, week or month. “The ultimate aim is to increase and elevate the workforce’s behavioural safety standards – the change of habits required for that takes time to achieve,” Realingo explains. It has been argued in the past that the lack of a unified regulation that can cater to on-site safety standards across the UAE hurts the construction
NEWS ANALYSIS ON-SITE ACCIDENTS
DECREE 42 OF 2009 Abu Dhabi’s EHSMS framework states labourers must wear job-related safety equipment at all times.
NEWS ANALYSIS ON-SITE ACCIDENTS
AV APPROACH Audiovisual aids are gaining popularity for their ability to break the most obvious language barrier so far as dissemination for labourers is concerned. Manufacturers – much like contractors – now see the benefits of educating and enhancing their workforce in order to reduce down-time in the long run, and are implementing similar techniques to train their employees.
industry. While regulations are created and sharpened by local municipalities in each emirate, their plurality often confuses contractors who work on numerous, parallel projects in different emirates. Decree 42 of 2009 by the Abu Dhabi Municipality paved the way for the creation of the Environment, Health and Safety Management System (EHSMS), a regulatory framework that ‘aims to protect the environment and human health, ensuring the safety of workers’. Realingo says he follows the directives of this code when dealing with worker safety. A report by The National claims that this decree states that labourers, depending on their job specialty, must wear safety equipment at all times. These include a safety harness, safety goggles, a helmet, construction site appropriate footwear and protective gloves. Understandably, the issue is of importance on the national level as well.
UNDERSTAFFED? The health and safety department at UAE’s Ministry of Labour works with the private sector to implement on-site safety.
MAN Trucks, one of the Middle East’s better known producer and supplier of heavy machinery for the construction market, has published a booklet that speaks directly to their drivers – in pictures and illustrations alone. An innovative method of teaching its employees appropriate safety measures and precautionary techniques, the booklet makes for easily comprehensible and retainable learning material.
Dr Ali Salem, director of health and safety for the UAE’s Ministry of Labour, in conversation with Big Project ME, reveals his take on worker safety and its enhancement in the country. A trained medical doctor himself, Dr Salem knows what can go wrong on a construction site, and the drastic aftereffects of flouting the safety measures in place. “To understand occupational medical injuries from a medical perspective there is a burden on me to learn more about safety. When we go to construction and industrial sites, we need basic information on the diverse aspects of construction, such as powered access and scaffolding. “This is part of our partnership with the private sector and we are glad they initiated the approach,” Dr Salem adds. Nevertheless, challenges persist where worker safety and sustenance is concerned – repeat offenders endanger not only their own lives, but also of their co-workers and the project they are working on. Realingo, however, makes a case for such non-compliant labourers. “Firing is not the solution. As a company, you are only cutting the risk then, not the root (of the problem),” says Realingo. “Labourers, like all employees, are a good investment. It is the practitioner’s duty to view them as an investment she/he can educate, work on and hone. Managements carry the onus of learning more about their workers and educating them to imbibe better skills.” “As a manager or supervisor, you may be providing them with appropriately required PE (protective equipment); but if it is of poor quality or cannot be reused, that is your fault, not theirs,” argues Realingo. Companies also carry the burden of ensuring third-party inspections are given due attention. As Dr Salem explains, a major challenge for him is ensuring there are enough inspectors on the ground. “It’s not easy. There are around 25 inspectors, so it’s really difficult to cover (construction sites) everywhere. We have to put on priorities. “You won’t see us as much in DIP or DIFC as they would in Al Quoz. Most of our resources are working in Sharjah – the largest industrial area in the Middle East,” he adds. Undoubtedly, there is scope for growth of safety standards in the region. As the UAE heads into a period of unparalleled construction activity, contractors and regulatory bodies will have to work inclusively with their labourers to ensure that building in the country equates to zero-losses and minimal hazards. n
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IN PROFILE DR ROLAND BUSCH
IN PROFILE DR ROLAND BUSCH
THE SMART THINKER
Dr Roland Busch, CEO of Siemens Infrastructure and Cities and member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG, sits down for an interview with Big Project ME to discuss why the Middle East is crucial for his division’s success development, nor a supplier of building materials, the division offers urban planners a chance to truly control and manage their cities through practical technology that is sustainable. “We don’t build roads, we don’t build buildings, but what we do is provide the technology part of infrastructure,” explains Doctor Roland Busch, member of the managing board at Siemens AG and the CEO of Infrastructure and Cities Sector. “We automate infrastructure and make it more efficient. This includes rolling stock and rail bound transport. But also, inter-modal management. That means we’re managing the streets,” he adds. “The old type of thinking is not doing the trick anymore. If we’re going to manage a city of two million, five million or ten million people, you cannot constantly add new streets and rail routes, you have to do it smartly and increase capacity by using what is there in a more intelligent way.” Speaking during the launch of Siemens’ new Masdar based headquarters, Dr Busch tells Big Project ME that the Middle East region is set to play an important role for the Infrastructure and Cities division of Siemen.
“It’s a very important region. Siemens has been present in the Middle East since 1856, when our founder supervised the laying of cables in the Red Sea, and we’re here to stay. It’s an important region because it’s dynamic and there are a lot of things happening here,” he asserts. “Talking about infrastructure, there are plans for building infrastructure, but also for the whole traffic system, because this region is booming. The railway connection between the UAE and the rest of the GCC, is being planned and will come.” “It starts with freight and then the passengers will also come. And then also the local transport, major transport projects. We can provide this infrastructure. We don’t do buildings, we don’t provide the concrete parts, but we provide the intelligent high-tech part, which is really adding value to these plans. So we’re embedded here, we want to be here and we want to be seen as a local partner, providing top technology.” Not only is this limited to building and civil infrastructure, Dr Busch points out that Siemens Infrastructure and Cities’ technology can also be applied to a wider range of industries, including the oil and gas sector, which is of course a major segment of the market here in the Middle East.
“IT’S A VERY IMPORTANT REGION. SIEMENS HAS BEEN PRESENT IN THE MIDDLE EAST SINCE 1856, AND WE’RE HERE TO STAY. IT’S AN IMPORTANT REGION BECAUSE IT’S DYNAMIC AND THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS HAPPENING HERE”
hroughout history, humanity has always gravitated towards urban centres, turning them into centres of commerce, culture and scientific growth. In fact, the Middle East is home to some of the world’s oldest cities, with the likes of Damascus, Aleppo, Byblos and Luxor all inhabited for thousands of years. So prevalent has the growth of the urban human population been, the World Health Organisation estimates that by 2010, more than half of the world’s population lived in urban areas. That’s more than 3.5 billion people. To put that into perspective, 100 years ago, two out of every ten people lived in an urban area. By 2030, WHO predicts that six out of every 10 people will live in a city; a mere 20 years later will see that number rise to seven out of every ten. At present, more than half of all urban dwellers live in cities with between 100,000 and 500,000 people, with fewer than 10% living in ‘megacities’ (defined by UN HABITAT as a city with more than 10 million people). Given that the numbers are so staggeringly high, the need to manage the infrastructure of these cities and developing countries is vital. While infrastructure development and construction are what gets the most attention, it often serves little purpose if those multi-million or multi-billion dollar investments are not managed properly. This can be seen in third world countries where billions are spent on infrastructure development, with very little to show for it. However, this is where Siemens Infrastructure and Cities comes in to play. Although not a traditional contractor of infrastructure
IN PROFILE DR ROLAND BUSCH
BIOGRAPHY Special responsibilities: CEO Infrastructure & Cities Sector Asia (excluding Japan) and Australia Corporate Sustainability Office Professional timeline: n 1994 Joined Siemens AG, Erlangen, Germany. Corporate Research and Development Department - Project Head
“RAIL IS REALLY SOMETHING NOW. FOR THE FIRST TIME IT’S ON THE AGENDA AND WILL BE IN THE NEWS OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS”
Furthermore, he points out that another area of significant interest is the healthcare division, which has seen tremendous investment from the GCC governments, which will continue over the next few years, with an estimated $133.19 billion set to be spent by the year 2018. “Siemens is working in the areas of energy, industry, healthcare and infrastructure and cities. I would like to focus on the latter one, as we believe that our new headquarters is a great showcase. The new building is LEED platinum certified. It is sitting in the desert with temperatures reaching 40oC or 50oC So of course that’s unique.” “That’s a blend of architecture and top technology. And that’s where Siemens comes into play. But that’s only one part of it. This building and other buildings to come are interconnected with a lot of infrastructure features. The grid
RAIL DEVEVLOPMENTS Rail transportation is set to play a big part in the region’s spending over the next few years, Dr Busch says.
and power supply have to be more intelligent, in particular, if we want to make it more sustainable, in the spirit of Masdar. This is what attracts us,” he explains further. “On top of that, it is the whole transport infrastructure that needs to be developed in a sustainable manner. That is a nice combination. Firstly, sitting on a booming market, secondly having the right and strong partners – Mubadala, Masdar – and thirdly, having the chance to deploy technology at its best.” According to Dr Busch the next few years are destined to be dominated by rail transportation led by government investment. “This is definitely a boom now, which is, I would say, a little bit unusual compared to the other trends, like energy and infrastructure development. Rail is really something now. For the first time it’s on the agenda and will be in the news over the next three years,” he says. This is a thread that Dr Busch picks up on again a few days later when Big Project ME travelled with Siemens to the launch of the tramway in Doha Education City. Speaking after a ceremony to showcase a mock-up of the Siemens designed and built trams that will be used on the project, Dr Busch elaborates on why he thinks that rail construction
1995 Automotive Systems Group, Regensburg, Germany. Strategic Planning – Expert in Fuel Cell Technology
1997 Additionally: Assistant to the Group Executive Management
1998 Process and Information Management – Head of Central Quality and Internal Consulting
2001 Integration of VDO into Siemens VDO Automotive AG – Head of Strategy and Consulting
2002 Head of Infotainment Solutions Division
2005 Siemens VDO Automotive Asia Pacific Co. Ltd., Shanghai, China – President and CEO
2007 Transportation Systems Group, Erlangen, Germany – Head of Mass Transit Division
2008 Corporate Development Department, Munich, Germany – Head of Corporate Strategies
2011 Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG
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IN PROFILE DR ROLAND BUSCH
will be the next major boom industry for the GCC region. “The way forward is clear to me. There is a growing awareness in this region that the level of public infrastructure has to be raised in particular rail bound metro, but also intercity connections, which are the backbone of any country,” Busch says. “If you want to develop your economy in a sustainable manner, you have to invest in its infrastructure. There are examples all over the world where it’s proven that doing so will really boost your growth and development. So we see a lot of opportunities and we want to be part of it.” However, while it’s easy to say that there’s a lot of potential and growth in the GCC market, there
PLATINUM PERFORMER Earlier this year Siemens inaugurated its “showcase” Middle East headquarters, Abu Dhabi’s first LEED Platinum building. A large crowd of stakeholders, VIPs and media attended the opening ceremony at the site in Masdar City, the capital’s lowcarbon, sustainable community. Designed by Sheppard Robson, the 18,000m2 building reduces energy consumption by almost 50% compared to conventional buildings of the same size. A highly insulated inner façade is designed to reduce thermal conductivity and a lightweight aluminum external shading system minimises solar gain. Speaking before the event, David Ardill, partner and design director at Sheppard Robson, commented: “We decided that the common ground between sustainability and good commercial office design is efficiency. “If you can build more with less it means you are getting better value for money and you are using less material which means less carbon. [Efficiency was] underlying every choice we made.” The building is fitted with Siemens’ latest energy saving and monitoring technologies, and acts as a “showcase building”, according to Joerg Scheifler CEO, Infrastructure & Cities Sector, Middle East, Siemens. “We packed into it as many technologies in Siemens’ offering as possible,” he added.
“All of the technologies are state-of-the-art. For instance we used the latest Siemens building automation system which is on the market. We will happily bring customers here and let them look behind the scenes to see how the technology works.”
remain concerns about actually implementing these systems and technologies. Not only is the market fairly unaware of these developments, it’s also likely to suffer from a lack of experience. Given the value and scale of these rail projects, it’s no surprise that Dr Roland Busch has been giving this careful consideration. He says that his division has taken care to ensure that they work together with the local governments and people to ensure a successful outcome. “We will develop along the way, together with our customers. That means we identify the needs and requirements from customers and we are trying to bring in the best technology to solve the
problem,” he explains, pointing out that one of Siemen’s biggest strengths is customer trust. “Establishing trust is of the highest importance as you can imagine. If you go new ways, bring innovations, by definition, it’s something new. You cannot predict where it ends, and you always have some issues. I think having a good, trustful relationship is mandatory to solve those issues. This is one reason why we are also investing in our management capacity, to be able to talk and solve problems on all levels, as high as you have to go to solve them.” Clearly then, the region is one that he views with considerable interest. This is starkly evident when he’s asked about Siemens Infrastructure
IN PROFILE DR ROLAND BUSCH
STAYING ON TRACK Dr Busch says that the Middle East is going to be crucial for because of its investment into infrastructure.
“WE ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO BENEFIT FROM SHAPING OUR PORTFOLIO, AVOID OR SUBSTANTIALLY REDUCE PROJECT CHARGES AND CONTINUE TO BENEFIT FROM OUR TRANSFORMATION PROGRAM. AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON OUR GROWTH MARKETS”
we have made major steps in transforming our businesses towards higher profitability and lower risk,” Dr Busch explains. “We are going to continue to benefit from shaping our portfolio, avoid or substantially reduce project charges and continue to benefit from our transformation program. And we will continue to focus on our growth markets.” “We want to look forward now, and we’re leveraging the investments we made in this fiscal year, for the benefit of our profitability in the future. So I’m very excited and confident it will go forward in the right direction,” he tells Big Project ME bullishly. “And, please, do not forget, we are market leaders in intelligent infrastructure automation. The region will play an important part because if you look at all the regions globally, and where infrastructure investment is high on the agenda, this is the place to be.”
and Cities performance in 2013. Having endured a tough 2013, Dr Busch has overseen a strong overhaul of how Siemens I&C does business, with a more selective approach to new projects underway so as to boost profitability. The stricter policy came into play after a financial year which saw its margin on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fall to 3.7%, making it the least profitable of Siemens’ four main businesses, behind Industry, Energy and Healthcare. The current financial year, however, could see I&C reach the low end of its 8% to 12% target margin, a Reuters report has quoted Dr Busch as saying. Projects in Britain and Germany are expected, along with the tighter management review for critical projects, to drive profitability. “Regarding last year’s performance, we’re not satisfied. However, our effort is paying off now:
ON SITE DOHA FESTIVAL CITY
Doha Festival City
Bawabat Al Shamal Real Estate Company
Al Futtaim Group Real Estate (AFGRE)
Faithful + Gould
Gulf Contracting Company/ALEC Qatar JV
ON SITE DOHA FESTIVAL CITY
With groundwork construction of Doha Festival City have recently started, Big Project ME visited the site to get an idea of what’s in store for one of Qatar’s most ambitious retail projects. Gavin Davids reports
ON SITE DOHA FESTIVAL CITY
s a city, Doha isn’t the most glamorous of places, especially to a first-time visitor. Traffic can often appear chaotic and city planning can be described as ‘haphazard’. While this may seem uncharitable, and to be fair, downtown Doha does boast some stunning architecture and boulevards, a majority of the city’s problems have come from the surge in growth that Qatar has experienced since the turn of the century. As a result developers have begun expanding outwards, building their projects in Doha’s suburbs, a strategy that has allowed them to not only build bigger, but also build smarter. Given the freedom to grow, there have been a spate of ambitious retail projects, with the Villaggio Mall one of the most prominent examples of the trend. Now, however, a mall is being built that will eclipse all others in Qatar. Indeed, the Doha
Festival City project will eclipse most malls in the Middle East, as Kareem M Shamma, CEO of Bawabat Al Shamal Real Estate Company (BASREC), tells Big Project ME during a visit to the project’s site offices. “We’re at 250,000m2 of gross leasable area and that’s by far the largest in Qatar. I think the only other larger mall in the GCC is the Dubai Mall at the moment. I say at the moment because you never know who is planning what in the GCC!” However, Doha remains a city that harbours ambitions to rival Dubai as the tourist capital of the GCC. To achieve that, it has to offer tourists a chance to see something that they won’t get in the UAE. This is why the Doha Festival City is so important. If being the flagship development for BASREC wasn’t pressure enough, the project will be the standard by which all malls in Qatar will be
BIG EXPECTATIONS Doha Festival City is expected to be the flagship shopping destination in Qatar.
“ONCE WE GET OUT OF THE GROUND, I DON’T ANTICIPATE THAT THERE’LL BE ANYTHING TOO CHALLENGING, BECAUSE IN THE END, EVEN THOUGH IT’S A BEAUTIFULLY DESIGNED STRUCTURE, IT’S STILL A TWO STOREY BUILDING WITH A BASEMENT”
ON SITE DOHA FESTIVAL CITY
Doha Festival City appointed Gulf Contracting Company and Alec Qatar joint-venture as the contractor for construction of the development’s mall worth $1.6 billion. “It is an honour to be awarded as the contractor to lead the construction of a shopping mall that is set to be one of the largest and most prominent in the Middle East,” says Darrell Bergesen, board member of GCC/ALEC Qatar JV. “We are currently focused on achieving a quick and effective mobilisation for the foundation works up to and including ground floor slabs, which will pave the way for the main contract works, to ensure timely delivery of the shopping mall,” he adds. Scheduled for opening in Q3 2016, the contract was awarded after a Traffic Impact Study was conducted and the project’s master plan was approved.
judged, and proof positive that Doha can cut it as a viable tourist destination. “I think the sheer size of it is going to be a category killer,” Shamma asserts. “It’s going to dwarf all the other malls. That’s the first thing, its size. Secondly, I always call this the first international mall in Doha because of the experience and partnership that comes from the UAE in the form of Al Futtaim. “They’ve done Dubai Festival City and Cairo Festival City (amongst others), so in that sense, they’ve opened international malls and I think it’ll be the first of its kind in Doha. The others have been locally conceived and built and operated-type malls. We’ve raised the bar with international standards now.” This embrace of international standards is something that Shamma believes will serve the mall well in the future, with careful consideration given to all areas of the customer experience, right from the approach to the mall, to the flow of shoppers around the mall and the entertainment packages on offer. “How we’re differentiating ourselves is with the offering itself. We’re anchoring the mall at the north end, obviously, with IKEA, which has proved to be very popular. That would then be an
integral part of the north end of the mall. There’ll be direct access from within the mall to IKEA and the hypermarket,” he explains. “The south end is the other major draw for this mall, with a massive entertainment complex planned. It’s 30,000m2 of internal and external entertainment. To our knowledge, this is the first time that any mall – throughout the Middle East – has combined, to such a large extent, both internal and external entertainment. “Internally, there are things like a snow play box. It’s a snow slope which has moved on from current offerings by two or three generations. There are things like zorbing and toboggan runs, which are more interesting than just basic skiing,” Shamma points out. “Then there’s obviously the family entertainment area like you see in a lot of the other malls. But that’s also what we wanted to avoid, just having that bolted onto the side of the mall. “The way we’ve arranged it at one end is that we have a huge food and beverage area, a food court that is central to this area internally, that overlooks the snow, overlooks the family entertainment area and overlooks the external entertainment centre.” He continues: “Now what is the external entertainment area? We’ve got a Rapid River Ride, which is going to be spectacular, we’ve got zip wires above it. There’s more extreme, adrenalinetype sports outside. We’ve also got a traditional funfair, with a reverse bungee in a steel cage.” Clearly this is all going to take up a considerable amount of space, but as mentioned earlier, the reason a number of developers are looking to building their projects outside of Doha city is because of the space, which is one of the main things on offer. Stretching out across 433,000m2, the Doha Festival City project will have space for more than 550 international brands, with many making their debut in Qatar. In addition, there are approximately 8,500 car parking spaces being incorporated into the construction, with two multi-storey parking lots being built, along with underground parking under the whole mall and over-ground parking near IKEA. Construction completion is expected by the third or fourth quarter of 2016, BASREC have consistently said, despite the lengthy delays that have hit the project. Work on the project was set to commence in 2013 however, just as construction work was about to start, Qatar’s Public Works Authority (Ashghal) announced that it would be upgrading highways around the site.
ON SITE DOHA FESTIVAL CITY
This meant that work on the project had to be stopped and the upgrades taken into account. However, the project team decided to use the delay as an opportunity to improve the project design, with ramps into and out of the project being included. With the total estimated cost of the project coming in at $1.64 billion, the need to get every aspect of the project right is essential, especially given the pre-existing delays. Keeping control and overseeing this aspect of the project performance is Michael Connor, commercial manager for Faithful + Gould, who are the commercial managers for the project. “We are looking at the financial control and reporting of the development performance against budget and cost to complete position,” he tells Big Project ME. “We have more of a strategic review of the commercial management. In terms of driving the value engineering, the cost challenges, the design development, that’s under EC Harris’ remit. We’re available to support that, but our involvement is more, in a sense, to check contractual arrangements and administration of the development,” Connor explains. “There’s an incredible breadth of information generated on the project, such as the various construction contracts. We as consultants are having to digest a large amount of information to give the correct advice to our client. In terms of working within a project team, it’s going very well and it will continue to do so. The companies that are involved have complimentary skill sets and are quite clear on the direction and target of the development.” Two of the companies currently involved in the project are ALEC Qatar and Gulf Contracting Company, who are currently involved in the foundation construction for the mall. When Big Project ME spoke to Shamma, work was just about to begin, with final preparations underway. At the time of print, construction is well underway. “They’re mobilising at the moment, they’re currently doing some basic dewatering, which was subject to getting the requisite permits and they’re now gearing up with site offices and site
PROJECT OVERSEERER Kareem Shamma is the man overseeing the construction and development of the Doha Festival City project.
equipment. You should see, within one or two weeks, actual construction on the site,” he says. “Typically, with this sort of construction, it takes a while to get out of the ground. Fortunately, we anticipated this and have already completed our bulk excavation. We awarded a separate contract before this one (the substructure construction contract) under a separate, temporary permit, and we completed the bulk excavation of the site. Most of the site is down to its basic levels.” “Now the substructure contractor will do detailed excavation, specifically the area of his foundation. It’s in rock, so that could take a bit of time. We’ve also got some groundwater, which is another challenge, but that’s typical of any groundwork construction. Once we get out of the ground, I don’t anticipate that there’ll be anything too challenging, because in the end, even though it’s a beautifully designed structure, it’s still a two storey building with a basement. It’s very functional and we’re not pioneers or on the cutting edge of shopping malls, we’re doing something that works best for the retailer and the customer,” he points out.
“TO OUR KNOWLEDGE, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT ANY MALL – THROUGHOUT THE MIDDLE EAST – HAS COMBINED, TO SUCH A LARGE EXTENT, BOTH INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL ENTERTAINMENT”
Connor chimes in to add that with the substructure package well underway, thoughts are already turning towards the next stage of the project, which is looking at how to bring forward elements of the work, so as to finish things according to schedule. “We’re negotiating a fast-track procurement approach to appoint the superstructure and contractor for the mall, to basically finish the job as soon as possible,” he explains. “Once we get the second part of the development consent, it’s about taking the initiative from BASREC and looking to secure a contract to deliver the mall.” “The target for the development just now is to achieve a trading date within the third quarter of 2016. We’re trying to secure a contract in a more buoyant market, so the quicker we can do that, the better we can get a jumpstart on the other major infrastructure works that will be happening. We’ll still find it a little bit tough, but the benefits are that there isn’t anything of this scale and prestige in the retail sector, so I’m sure the supply chain will be very keen to do business,” Connor adds. This future planning becomes even more interesting when the sheer logistical challenge of the project is considered. With Shamma revealing that 10,000 workers are expected to be on-site at the peak of construction, getting a grip on logistical issues is crucial to the project’s success. “We work with our contractors to iron out these logistical issues,” Shamma says. “It’s a challenge, but I wouldn’t call it a problem yet. It’ll be a challenge to bring in a number of people into and out of the site, where they’ll be accommodated and all, but our guys are very good on health and safety and environment.” Recent reports on Qatar-based contractors have not looked favourably on the treatment of workers. Shamma says that his operation prioritises their welfare. “We often go to contractor camps and check on conditions there, even the remote camps. There are strong policies on health and safety, which our project managers, Mace, take very seriously. We take it seriously as a client as well, it’s always foremost in our minds. The well-being of the people onsite is essential and you get good results out of it at the end, with (increased) productivity and efficiency. That’s always of prime concern, and rightly so. Gone are the days of poor conditions on site, dangerous conditions and so forth. The more the construction community in Qatar can work on that and move towards more awareness of HSE, the better,” he points out.
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FOLLOW THE LEADER
Big Project ME examines why choosing the right leadership is the most important decision a contractor looking to expand into new markets will have to make. Gavin Davids reports
ethical behaviour are made a key value by leaders, then the team will follow suit. Then there is the crucial ability to delegate. It’s vital that leaders learn to trust their team with the company vision, otherwise progress to the next stage will be hampered. It’s important to remember that trusting the team is a sign of strength and not weakness. Another important factor in successful leadership is communication. If leaders can’t relate their vision to the team, working towards the same goal will be difficult. Keeping up confidence levels is another vital factor in leadership. Assuring everyone that setbacks are natural and the important thing is to focus on the larger goal is one of the more important roles a leader can play. Staying calm and confident will help keep the team feeling the same. Be creative urges the report and accept that when leading a team through uncharted waters, and there is no roadmap on what to do, you may need to rely on intuiton. Everything can be uncertain, and as many leaders know, the higher the risk, the higher the pressure. Taking that report as inspiration and considering the burgeoning construction market in the GCC, Big Project ME looked to the industry to find out how careful thinking
Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” Colin Powell, American statesman and retired four-star general in the United States Army wrote the above quote in his book, ‘My American Journey’, as he discussed what it was that makes a good leader. The core essence of that quote, that leaders are problem solvers, is a sentiment that echoes throughout all strata of business and society. Leaders are those individuals who bring people together, who get those people to work together and who ultimately deliver positive results. What goes into making a good leader is a little bit more complex, but the common consensus would be that a leader should have a good character, should be able to forge strong relationships and should be trustworthy. A Forbes report published in 2012 looked at the qualities that go into making a good leader, and came to conclusion that there are a core set of values necessary for successful leadership. The first of these is honesty, which means that a business and its employees should be a reflection of its management. If honest and
and planning can be shaped by individuals and companies. With established local contractors looking to expand and global contractors looking to enter the region for the first time, competition is fierce. As such, it’s crucial that mistakes are kept to a minimum, and a large part of doing so is ensuring that the right leadership is in place. If the project team is expected to work hard and produce quality content, leaders are also going to need to lead by example, the report suggests. These are the very same qualities that construction companies should look for when hiring new executives and senior management, says Kez Taylor, CEO of ALEC, one of the largest and most prominent construction contractors in the UAE. “Interestingly enough, research has been carried out on construction projects in America, they have tried to establish what makes construction projects successful. They investigated systems, programmes and looked at every facet of the projects. In the end there was only one key criterion that was a differentiator and that was having the right leadership in place. The right leadership on the project determined the success of the project” says Taylor. “The people with the right qualities and leadership skills were successful in all environments, the good, the bad and the challenging. The people that were mediocre were consistently mediocre, regardless of the environment they encountered.” This view point is backed up by Ziad Awad, SVP and head of Region, Middle East and Africa, for SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian engineering and construction group that operates in more than 40 countries. The firm recently opened its regional head office in Abu Dhabi, which will support development in the Middle East and Africa. Having held senior positions and as a board of directors member for a number of leading international companies, Awad’s role is to develop a strong local platform that will enable SNC-Lavalin to deliver on its regional strategies and goals. He says he’ll be focusing on “the optimisation of our assets” and legal entities, the coordination of local stakeholder initiatives and the establishment of an efficient business infrastructure. Furthermore, he’ll be tasked with the implementation of regulatory and corporate priorities in ethics and compliance. In short, he’ll be tasked with fulfilling a number of the
VIEW FROM THE TOP Leaders should create an environment where individuals feel able to deliver bad news upwards.
conclusions laid out by Forbes in the article quoted above. Clearly he’s got his hands full. “The opening of this regional head office will allow us to strengthen our client relationships,” he tells Big Project ME. “We can expand our commercial opportunities and have the best business platform to deliver projects according to clients’ expectations. “(You need to have) a strong knowledge of the sectors covered (by SNC-Lavalin) and an understanding of the region,” he comments, explaining why he was chosen for the job. “I have cross experience, in both the sector and in the region, and I think it’s ideal to support the ambitions of the group within the region.” According to Awad, the Middle East region is a highly pressurised environment where many of its direct competitors are jostling for position with quickly expanding firms from Asia. He argues that SNC-Lavalin’s experience places it above these competitors. “SNC-Lavalin has a long history within the region, and we’ve established strong relationships with our clients throughout large
“IF YOU LOOK AT ALL THE TALENT IN THE MIDDLE EAST MARKET, THERE ARE GREAT PROJECT ENGINEERS, BUT THESE ARE NOT PEOPLE WHO CAN SELL AND MARKET A PROJECT THAT HAS BEEN CREATED” contracts. I am convinced it will make the difference in the coming years,” Awad asserts. Building relationships with clients is a key factor for ALEC’s business, adds Taylor. With a Qatari office already established and working on its second project in the GCC country, he says that one of the key components to creating success is to hire leadership that will
IRAQ EXPANSION Arabtec Holding, the UAE-based engineering and construction group of companies, has announced that it plans to open an office in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The move comes as the company, which is known to specialise in complex projects in the Middle East and North Africa region, looks to capitalise on Iraq’s high potential, particularly in oil and gas and infrastructure. “We see great potential for Arabtec in Iraq. Our physical presence there will enable us to capitalise on the significant new business opportunities that are available particularly in oil and gas and infrastructure. Launching our business in Iraq follows our recent expansion into the Balkan States, and achieves yet another significant step in our growth strategy,” said Hasan Abdullah Ismaik, managing director and CEO of Arabtec. The opening of Arabtec’s office in Baghdad is to facilitate the company’s planned growth in the Iraqi market, he added. The move is in line with the Company’s business growth strategy to diversify into higher-margin segments, particularly infrastructure and oil and gas. Furthermore, the office will serve as a platform for expansion by Arabtec Holding’s joint ventures and subsidiaries, in what is expected to become the region’s most lucrative construction market. Arabtec is already in advanced discussions with a number of clients in Iraq for large-scale projects in its target sectors, Ismaik added, along with talks with the Iraqi government. “We are already in talks with the Iraqi Government over a number of mega projects. These talks are at an advanced stage and we hope to announce the results in the very near future.” A major thrust behind Arabtec’s expansion into Iraq is to pave the way for its newly formed joint venture with Samsung Engineering and the soon to be announced joint venture with GS Engineering and Construction, which will tap into the huge potential of the Iraqi market. Ismaik said that Arabtec has already begun looking for candidates for senior management posts in Iraq, including CEO candidates.
set about building trust and confidence in the contractor. “When entering into a new market, a company is not well known as a trading organisation. The way you interface and interact with the supply chain and subcontractors is critical to the success of the company. As a main contractor, you have to create an environment where all parties can perform and execute their jobs effectively and ultimately succeed.” “The main contractor is responsible for ensuring that the programme is set up correctly and everyone is aligned. If this is not established and maintained, then the supply chain will not effectively perform in the given environment,” Taylor warns. “Trusting relationships need to be built and all parties should honour their commitments. Any deviation from this could potentially lead to failure. Creating an environment where people can rely and trust you is key to success and is where all parties can make money and perform. By creating this environment you will have more businesses wanting to work with you. If the right environment is not created, in a new area, the business is likely to be unsuccessful.” Yu Tao, the CEO and president of China State Construction Engineering Corporation (Middle East), agrees wholeheartedly with this. In an
PREPARED TO QUESTION Yu Tao spends time with his teams to ensure he is fully aware of progress when meeting clients.
interview with Big Project ME in February, he says that as far as he’s concerned, it’s natural for companies and clients to question the presence of a new entry into the market. “It’s very natural, if they don’t know you, even though you may have a big name around the world, they’ll still have many questions to ask. So to manage this situation, what we’ve done is deliver,” Tao asserts. “We’re probably the biggest building contractor in the world, but this doesn’t mean that we’ll take projects easily, or that we believe that our reputation is there and we don’t need to spend so much time on project management. This won’t work. I’ve spent a lot of time, not just pursuing the clients to award the contract, but I’ve spent more time with my colleagues, on the day-to-day operations. Every month, for the last ten years, I’ve chaired operation meetings and I know most of the details for each project, so that when the client asks questions, I’m prepared and I know what we’re doing and where we need to improve.” Given the attitudes prevalent amongst these contractors, one would assume that all is well with the leadership roles of the contracting
STANDING APART SNC-Lavalin says it is considered ahead of its competitors because of its experience.
industry. However, Sudarshan Sharda, associate partner with Postive Moves, an executive recruitment consultancy operating in India, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, France and the UK. Sharda says that when it comes to the Middle East, one of the major challenges facing the construction industry is a lack of ‘holistic talent’ for leadership roles. “Within the construction space, these markets work a little differently. In normal markets, you would have people who have grown up the ladder, working from a project engineer on a specific project to becoming a director of construction, with 20 different projects under their realm of authority,” he explains. “What happens in the Western world, and I’ve also seen this in the East, is every massive project – which could be millions of square feet of development – has a specific individual who acts as a CEO. “He or she is responsible for the complete gamut of activity, from acquisition through to the entire construction phase – design, construction and post-construction. The problem is, with the Middle East industry, is that
“IF YOU LOOK AT ALL THE TALENT IN THE MIDDLE EAST MARKET, THERE ARE GREAT PROJECT ENGINEERS, BUT THESE ARE NOT PEOPLE WHO CAN SELL AND MARKET A PROJECT THAT HAS BEEN CREATED”
you don’t find holistic talent that can be CEO’s. You find technical experts who have grown up the ladder, and are now tasked with doing some sales and marketing as well.” Sharda points out that sales and marketing is a crucial aspect of being a leader in today’s construction industry. Although a contractor may not necessarily have to worry about land acquisition and business development for a project, the level of competition in the Middle East market means that CEOs and senior management must be versed in the art of marketing themselves to clients. “Maybe the market was such that anything you did sold easily, but I think in the last five years, things have been difficult for the market. Sadly people are realising that it’s not just about the quality of construction or your background, but also about how you sell yourself.” “If you look at all the talent in the Middle East market, there are great project engineers, these are big guys when it comes to technical capabilities, they know the new ways of construction and means, but these are not people who can sell and market a project that has been created,” he explains. “In my mind, in the Middle East, you’ve got the locals who are doing the first part, the land acquisition and business development. Then the second part of it, which is the whole pre-construction part, is being done by technical guys who come from different parts of the world, then the third phase, the sales and marketing phase, I think the region lacks that now.”
ON SITE DUBAI TRAM
Alstom, Besix and Parsons
Road and Transport Authority
ON SITE DUBAI TRAM
TEAM EFFORT Dubai’s tramway scheme is being overseen by Alstom, Besix and Parsons.
OPERATION READINESS Big Project ME gets an exclusive first look at the Dubai Tram project with Abdullah Yousif Al Ali, acting CEO of the RTA’s Rail Agency. Gavin Davids reports
“THE DUBAI TRAM IS EXPECTED TO FURTHER CONSOLIDATE THE PUBLIC TRANSPORT IMAGE IN DUBAI AND HELP IMPROVE THE ACCESSIBILITY AND MOBILITY WITHIN DUBAI IN GENERAL”
in January 2014, ahead of a scheduled November 2014 launch. “The Dubai Tram is expected to further consolidate the public transport image in Dubai and help improve the accessibility and mobility within Dubai in general, and the new leisure and business districts of the city in particular,” says Abdullah Yousif Al Ali, acting CEO, Rail Agency – RTA, in an exclusive interview with Big Project ME. “Being the first of its kind in the region and one of the most sophisticated tram projects in the world, it will add more value to the existing public transport networks in Dubai.”
ver since the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) launched the Dubai Metro project in 2009, the city has seen a constant focus on the improvement of its public transport network. Having first opened with 10 of 29 stations in 2009, Dubai Metro’s Red Line was declared complete in April 2010. This was swiftly followed by the completion of the Green Line of the Metro in September 2011, extending the metro transport network across the entire city. Coupled with the pre-existing bus and taxi network, it was assumed that Dubai’s public transport needs were covered for the foreseeable future. However, that would have been an underestimation of the vision of the UAE and the RTA, with plans launched almost immediately to construct a tramway that would encircle the Dubai Marina and Al Sufouh Road. The project has been designed to be an integral part of the Dubai transport network, linking the Dubai Metro and Palm Monorail. It will run along Al Sufouh Road and Jumeirah Beach Road, from Mall of the Emirates to the Dubai Marina. Originally planned for completion in 2009, the Dubai Tram project has endured a difficult run, with the economic crisis having delayed it until 2012, and then subsequently to 2014. It was finally announced, at the end of last year, that testing on the trams would commence
ON SITE DUBAI TRAM
DUBAI TRAM IN DETAIL The fleet comprises 11 trams in the initial phase, and 14 trams will be added in Phase II such that the total number of operating trams will be 25 trams. The tram ridership is expected to be 27,000 riders per day at the start of operations in 2014, and the ridership is bound to pick up to hit 66,000 riders per day by 2020. Each tram measures 44m in length and has a capacity to accommodate about 300 riders. The Tram has a Gold Class car, one car designated for women and children and five Silver Class cars. The tram’s cars and stations will have high end interior finishing, and feature state-of-the-art technologies in the media and display of entertainment materials. In the stations, the passenger platform will span 44m and is set to be equipped with Platform Screen Doors and Automatic Fare Collections systems. The tram track basically extends at-grade level along Al Sufouh Road but rises in an elevated section when passing across certain parts of the Dubai Marina for reasons dictated by urban context. It links up with the Metro system at two stations along Sheikh Zayed Road (Dubai Marina and Jumeira Lake Towers stations) and with the Monorail of The Palm Jumeirah at the entrance of the Palm from Al Sufouh Road via footbridges to ease the transit and transfer of passengers between the two modes. Al Sufouh Tram is considered the world’s first tramway project outside France powered by a ground-based electric supply system extending along the track, thus obviating the need for overhead power cables. It is also the world’s first tramway that uses Platform Screen Doors in passenger stations fully aligned with the tram’s doors opening and closing mechanism, providing maximum convenience, safety and security for its passengers.
Source: RTA Website
On 25 January, 2014 the RTA announced that testing on the $1.02 billion project would begin, with the first zone nearly completed and ready for operation. The second stage of testing has been pencilled in to start on 16 April 2014, the authority says. Testing on zone three – that which connects Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence – is due to begin on 14 June. “Test activities include both static and dynamic tests. The first test run went exactly as planned and testing will continue till October 2014 to ensure that all systems are performing and the safety of the tram during operation is assured,” Al Ali explains. Given that the Tramway is being built in the midst of – and the trams will travel through – pre-existing infrastructure, the challenges associated with the project are considerable. One of the main causes of the delays has been that the construction team, consisting of a consortium of Alstom, Besix and Parsons, have had to work around utilities that could not, under any circumstances, be interrupted, as Al Ali explains. “(Furthermore) there were a large number of road diversions in an already congested area. As a result, there had to be coordination with a number of developers, who all had different and sometimes conflicting needs,” he adds. “The Dubai Tram project came immediately after the Dubai Metro project and a large number of lessons learnt on the Metro were implemented on the Tram. We in the RTA usually produce a report containing all the lessons learnt at the end
of all our projects,” Al Ali continues to explain. “These are used to develop and improve the works on new projects. “Some of the most notable lessons learnt are: First, early coordination with all the stakeholders is required to ensure that their needs and requirements are included in the contract.” “Secondly, the tram and metro projects should be run as an integrated programme of sub-projects to ensure the proper integration of all activities related to the successful launch of revenue service,” he explains further.
ON SITE DUBAI TRAM
ELEVATED APPROACH Once completed the stations on the Dubai Tram will provide links to the existing and popular Dubai Metro.
PROJECT SPECIFICATIONS n Total line length: 14.5 km
n Average operational speed: 20 km/h
n Approximate time taken to travel full tram line: 30 minutes
However, Al Ali is quick to point out that the consortium is working in tandem with the consultant, Systra and the RTA team, to successfully deliver the project, pointing out that the teams are in daily communication to resolve any issues or difficulties that may arise. He assesses their
thanks to the new integrated multi-modal rail system of Dubai,” Al Ali asserts. With the deadline for completion fast approaching, there still remains much to be done. With the current project extending a total of 14.6km, with 17 stations along the way, Al Ali says that Phase I of the tram project is just the start, with plenty more to come. “The RTA has developed a comprehensive Rail Master Plan that responds to the current and future needs of Dubai,” he explains. “The plan has adopted some proposals for new rail lines (metro and tram), as well as the future extension for some existing lines.” “In this domain, the current Dubai Tram project is 10.6km, which extends between Dubai Marina and the Tram Depot near the Dubai Police Academy. It represents Phase I of the Dubai Tram project. Phase II will be extended for a further five kilometres and seven stations to both the Mall of the Emirates and Burj Al Arab at Jumeirah Road,” Al Ali says, highlighting the ambitious vision behind the project.
“THE BUILDING OF SOME OF THE TRAM STATIONS NEAR METRO STATIONS WAS INTENDED TO PROVIDE A DIRECT LINK AND TRANSFER OF PASSENGERS BETWEEN THE TWO MODES OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT”
collaborative effort and performance so far as ‘satisfactory’. As mentioned earlier, the over-arching plan for the Dubai Tram project is to eventually integrate with the rest of Dubai’s transport infrastructure. As such, the consortium and the RTA Rail Agency have worked together to ensure that the tram stations are accessible to commuters. “The building of some of the tram stations near Metro stations was intended to provide a direct link and transfer of passengers between the two modes of public transport. The Dubai Metro project comes as part of the RTA’s strategic plan, which aims to develop an efficient integrated multimodal public transport network for Dubai,” the acting CEO of the Rail Agency explains to Big Project ME. “The outcome of the Dubai Tram system will help provide a faster and more reliable way to get around in some of the most vital communities in Dubai, with zero emissions and hassles. The trip to Downtown and other major business hubs of Dubai will be more convenient and hassle free,
MARKET REVIEW NORTH AFRICA
Big Project ME examines the North African construction and real estate markets as investors and developers begin to view the region with cautious optimism. Gavin Davids reports
MARKET REVIEW NORTH AFRICA
A REGION OF CONTRAST A frost covered Fez in Morocco, a country investing into infrastructure.
ver since the Arab Spring took hold across Northern Africa, the region has been given a wide berth by a construction industry wary of entangling itself in situations that would put lives and investments at risk. Nowhere has this been more evident than in Libya, which saw billions of dollars in projects abandoned in the wake of the 2011 revolution which left thousands killed and the country devastated. Meanwhile, Egypt has lurched from one crisis to another, with a population and government constantly at odds with each other. Therefore, it’s not surprising that construction firms, even ones that are comfortable operating in conflict areas, have been reluctant to get heavily involved in projects in the region, as David Welch, president of Bechtel Europe, Middle East and North Africa, explains to Big Project ME. “I know these places (Libya, Egypt and the other North African nations) very well, having visited them a number of times, but to be honest, we’re risk averse when it comes to security. We’ve had a lot of difficulty in some places and we’re very conscious about the security of our employees and those who work on our projects,” he says. “We have an electricity project in Sirte, Libya – we’re the construction managers for it, we’re having to manage that from afar because of the security concerns. We’re not happy with that, to be honest with you. My colleagues, the construction and engineering guys, they’re hands-on people and they like to be right there onsite. So there’s a lot of dissatisfaction when we have to manage from afar. It’s possible to do, but it’s not the way we like to do it. However, I don’t see that changing very quickly right now.” This scenario is one that’s repeated across many construction firms with operations in the North African countries. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, with a number of independent observers pointing out that there have been some significant good news stories coming out of the region. A report entitled: ‘Deloitte on Africa – African Construction Trends
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MARKET REVIEW NORTH AFRICA
Report 2013’ points out that although the short to medium term outlook for infrastructure development is fairly uncertain, the demand for development still remains.” According to the report, there are reasons to optimistic about progress in the region despite turbulence in countries such as Egypt, Libya and even civil war-stricken Syria. “In North Africa, French-speaking Morocco is a primary hub of infrastructure development, particularly within the energy and power sector. In its southern Tarfaya region, development of what will be Africa’s largest wind farm is underway. Completion of this project is scheduled for 2014,” the report said. With no real hydrocarbon reserves to speak off, Morocco aims to fulfil 42% of its energy requirements through renewable energy resources by 2020, with a plan in place to produce 4,000MW. Half of this generation capacity is to be sourced from solar energy, with the remaining 2,000MW coming from wind power. “Also in the north of Africa, Tunisia is in the process of building a Rapid Rail Link, which is scheduled for completion around mid-2014. Algeria has two gas processing facilities being constructed, which are being prioritised over power works,” the report continues. Libya is also a market that will be of future strategic importance due to European dependency on oil, it adds. “The new Libyan government’s project to generate an asset
“TO BE HONEST, WE’RE RISK AVERSE WHEN IT COMES TO SECURITY. WE’VE HAD A LOT OF DIFFICULTY IN SOME PLACES AND WE’RE VERY CONSCIOUS ABOUT THE SECURITY OF OUR EMPLOYEES AND THOSE WHO WORK ON OUR PROJECTS”
EGYPT’S IMPORTANCE Despite instability and unrest, the country is showing signs of shrugging off its recent problems.
register of state-owned assets is an important signal of a country that is committed to future development.” Despite the political instability and unrest in Egypt, it remains a strategically important country in the region. This is a view backed by Craig Plumb, head of research – MENA, for Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). As one of the authors of the Cairo Real Estate Market Overview for Q4, 2013, Plumb is well placed to comment on the changing face of the city’s changing real estate dynamics. “While there remained isolated incidents of social unrest, the fourth quarter was generally a period of political and economic stability with a number of encouraging signs of improvement on both the political and economic fronts,” he writes in the report. “The government has progressed with the proposed ‘road map’. The constitution has been drafted and overwhelmingly accepted in the recent referendum. This has resulted in a return of investor confidence towards Egypt.”
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MARKET REVIEW NORTH AFRICA
NORTH AFRICA INDUSTRY BREAKDOWN
TUNISIA TURNAROUND? Medina in Sousse, Tunisia, a country that has undergone massive changes.
Industry value: $6715 million
n 59% Energy/power n 14% Transport n 14% Real Estate n 9% Water n 4% Mining
This upswing in confidence has resulted in a number of positive moves for the Egyptian real estate and construction market, with Cairo especially likely to benefit. Plumb’s report addresses a new law that has been drafted to simplify property registration in new urban areas such as New Cairo and 6th of October City. “This law will also provide better access to real-estate loans for the lower income sector,” notes Plumb. “The minister of housing has also agreed to amend existing regulations in the construction laws, to prevent further spread of slum development.” Some of the major projects either underway or in the planning stage in Cairo also include Emaar’s $428 million projects in New Cairo and 6th of October. The UAE based developer has requested a total of 300,000sqm of land from the Ministry of Housing to develop the two projects. Palm Hills has also announced plans to inject a further $142 million to speed up the construction and delivery of units in their existing projects in Cairo. Meanwhile the Middle East Company for Touristic Investment (MECTI) has announced plans for a new 500 room hotel in Sharm El Sheikh, investing around $14.5 million in the project. In addition, the JLL report says that the Sabbour Real Estate Group has won a recent auction for a 70,000sqm plot of land in New Cairo. However, the research team points out
that it is unclear whether the land will be used for commercial or residential purposes. Welch adds that Bechtel has a few projects in Egypt and that the recent upheavals caused a few issues for his firm. “In Egypt, we still have on going work, and the recent disturbances were a bit of a shock. The American and British governments were advising some citizens not to travel there, as well as some Gulf governments too, so we have a lot of employees who are very cautious of those travel warnings, but we think that we can operate in Egypt effectively,” he asserts during an interview with Big Project ME.
“UNLIKE MANY WESTERN MARKETS, NORTH AFRICAN REAL ESTATE AND CONSTRUCTION IS GENERALLY DRIVEN BY A LACK OF SUPPLY TO MEET THE INCREASING DEMAND FROM BOTH FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMPANIES”
“In Algeria, we’ve had a number of projects there in the past, but we haven’t got any current businesses and we’re not pursuing it right now. Morocco would be fine, but our track record there is not very deep, but we’ll take a closer look at Morocco,” he adds. While it’s clear that deep uncertainties remain across the North African markets, it’s equally evident that it is also a tremendously enticing proposition for construction firms across the world. With competition in the neighbouring GCC region heating up, perhaps the time to take a punt on North Africa is approaching, as Thomas Gibian, chief executive officer of Emerging Capital Partners, an international private equity firm, says. “ECP has invested in various African engineering and construction companies since 2006, and we have long been evaluating opportunities in the North African market,” says Gibian. “Unlike many western markets, North African real estate and construction is generally driven by a lack of supply to meet the increasing demand from both foreign and domestic companies.” “ECP views the construction markets across North Africa as uniquely poised for growth,” adds Vincent Le Guennou, executive vice president of ECP. “We believe the strong supply and demand imbalance in the sector is a compelling reason to invest.”
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SPECIAL FEATURE DRY WALLING
With the UAE market riding high on increased construction activity, Big Project ME examines if and how drywalls can contribute to speedy architectural work
cott Carter, a Chicago-based artist may just have redefined drywalls with his own unique twist on them. Carter, a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design was in the news last month for having ‘entered a few gallery rooms and deconstructed the walls to build practical objects’, as it was described by lifestyle website pastemagazine.com. Involving the building of tables, chairs and artefacts using different shapes and elements of drywalls, Carter’s work redefines the building material into a more evolved architectural and design element. Understandably, then, Big Project ME was curious to discover the value
of drywall application as beyond its typical parameters. “Modern high performance drywall systems, at their most basic, comprise a high strength metal framework – floor and ceiling channels with vertical studs between – and a plasterboard lining,” says Jason Hird, senior technical development manager at Gyproc Middle East. “Different stud widths and profiles, and a choice of lining options, means the construction is very versatile. “With the latest generation of lightweight wall and partition systems construction is simpler, faster and more flexible. They’re installed in half the time of masonry, so fit-out can proceed
quickly,” Hird adds. “There’s less down-time and, unlike masonry systems, they don’t rely on the skill and accuracy of the installer for optimum performance.” The most prominent advantage of drywalls is their inherent ability to save time. “Drywall is many times quicker than blockwork, as it is not as limited by functionalities of the latter, where only a certain number of courses of block can be laid per day,” says Chris Service, operations manager at Khansaheb Interiors. “Gypsum is ideal for the installation of services as one side of the wall will be boarded at a time; the services are then installed, followed by the other board.
SPECIAL FEATURE DRY WALLING
“DRYWALL IS QUICKER THAN BLOCKWORK, AS IT IS NOT LIMITED BY THE FUNCTIONALITIES OF THE LATTER, WHERE ONLY A CERTAIN NUMBER OF BLOCKS CAN BE LAID PER DAY”
INSPIRED ARCHITECTURE Scott Carter, a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will display his drywall sculptures with Beers Contemporary at the London Art Fair later this year. Carter entered a few gallery rooms and deconstructed the walls to build practical objects. Carter’s furniture sculptures ‘Less is More’ (living room chairs) and ‘A Temporary Engagement’ (dining room table and chair) are built out of drywall and carved into circles, rectangles and linear planes, while ‘Departing from the Rules of Harmony’ (neoclassical bust) was created from galvanized steel studs and different drywall shapes that have been stacked and spliced in order to recreate a 17th century statue by Antonio Canova. Carter’s purpose of creating these pieces of furniture is to ponder the value of modern architecture, design and gallery spaces. – pastemagazine.com
NEW HORIZONS Drywalls are gaining global popularity as new architectural options
“In blockwork, the wall is installed, followed by chasing for the services. The wall is made good and finally plaster is installed. This is both time consuming and messy,” adds Service. Additionally, plasterboards are also preferred for their fire-resistance abilities. Large manufacturers of drywalls pass their products through rigorous in-house and third-party tests to ensure appropriate fire-resistance standards are met and achieved. “Many architects prefer drywall systems because they are tested to provide a set level of performance in key areas such as fire, acoustics and impact resistance, so are easier to specify for more complex projects,” says Hird. “At the Sharjah Expo Centre, for instance, a minimum 60-minutes fire protection was essential to both sides of the extra wide span ceilings; the design ruled out traditional lining solutions, but an appropriate Gyproc drywall system was developed to meet all requirements.” Understandably then, the applications of drywalls are not limited to sectors, and can be incorporated across various structure verticals, such as healthcare, military and so on. “The portfolio of drywall systems can now cater for an incredibly wide variety of both uses and sectors, achieving acoustic requirements, fire ratings and strength,” says Service. “There are even lead linings available for x-ray rooms in hospitals.” Hird echoes this view: “because our systems meet multiple criteria, such as fire performance, high levels of acoustics and good impact resistance, they are extensively used in hospitals and schools where noise control is key and impact resistance is essential to prevent damage in high traffic areas. “They are also a firm choice for highrise towers, because of their excellent fire performance,” continues Hird, whose noise, moisture, mold and pollutant resistant products at Gyproc Saint-Gobain have been used in GCC’s health sector, such as in Abu Dhabi’s Cleveland Clinic and Doha’s Naufar Healthcare Facility. As is the case with most multi-functional building materials, drywalls also bring with them the challenge of application and the requirement of product-knowledge. “Contractors during construction have to be careful about who is employed to erect the drywalls,” warns Service. “There are many sub-contractors who install drywall as it is perceived to be straightforward, but they often use labour who might be untrained and of a low skill level. This will result in poor finishes and reduced longevity.
SPECIAL FEATURE DRY WALLING
NOT FOR ALL All industry experts agree on the need for specialised training for drywallinstallation
“We alleviate that challenge at Khansaheb with the in-house set of drywall installers whom we have trained in a way to allow efficient undertaking of operations,” continues Service, emphasising on the need for training to enhance drywall application. “One of the key benefits in drywalls for contractors is simplicity,” says Michael Monaghan, technical academy manager at Gyproc Middle East. “The basic skills needed to erect the systems can be taught quickly, and contractors can even up-skill their workforce onsite. Modular one or two-day training courses can provide all of the knowledge and skills needed, as well as teaching important issues such as safety, correct handling techniques and site best practice.” As Carter’s artworks demonstrate, drywalls can clearly be modified – with appropriate handling – to find better roles in the building process and better their incorporation into the designing aspect of a structure. “We (Khansaheb) regularly undertake curved walls and domes made of drywalls; we are even doing cornices of late,” informs Service. “Our factory includes a trained team working on a
“CONTRACTORS DURING CONSTRUCTION HAVE TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHO IS EMPLOYED TO ERECT THE DRYWALLS”
Megacom gypsum machine, which allows all bulkheads to be pre-made at a speed and quality that would otherwise be impossible to achieve on site.” “At SEGA Republic’s indoor park in Dubai Mall, curved partitions and tall bulkheads were created using a system specially designed for curved applications,” says Peter Robinson, marketing manager for Gyproc Middle East. The case for sustainability persists across drywalls too – with the need to ‘go green’ affecting most major developers and consultants in the region, drywall manufacturers and suppliers are not too far from accommodating environmentfriendly requirements into their products.
“Gyproc plasterboards contain recycled gypsum and are fully recyclable,” informs Robinson. “Our liners are made from 100% recycled paper fibre.” Service feels that while the recyclability of drywalls is a very plausible concept, advancements are required in the region’s ability to hone the same. “Plasterboard can be recycled,” he explains. “The UAE, however, is not yet as developed as many other countries where recycling of Gypsum is commonplace. Nevertheless, it is evident there is a drive to improve it here.” The advantages of drywalls are many – while the industry has argued against the product’s ability to sustain weights or prevent moisture accumulation, market leaders such as Gyproc Middle East and Khansaheb Interiors are showing how relevant technologies can be developed to reduce the perceived disadvantages of drywalls. Their cost-effectiveness is an obvious benefit of usage – unit rates per metre square for drywall are typically over 40% less than those of equivalent masonry, says Hird – but Carter’s works prove drywalls have the ability to adapt to UAE’s futuristic architecture.
MARKET REVIEW SANITARY-WARE
SYMBOTIC RELATIONSHIP The sanitary-ware market stands to benefit from construction growth in the region.
MARKET REVIEW SANITARY-WARE
Big Project ME explores the economics behind GCC’s growing domestic sanitary-ware market a fruitful sector of the region’s construction industry. Ramesh broadly divides the upward movement of the sanitary-ware market to three interrelated factors. The GCC’s construction market is recovering steadily, notes Ramesh, especially from the first quarter of 2013, and the strong financial strength of major countries like KSA, the UAE and Qatar is giving it a boost. “Governments of the GCC countries have allocated a considerable share of their spending on developing the construction industry, especially educational institutions, healthcare facilities, and affordable housing, apart from their infrastructure investments. Even in the UAE, the construction market is gradually reviving, mainly through the resumption of delayed projects,” Ramesh continues. “The demand for sanitary-ware in the GCC is quickly increasing through private and government spending on construction development in residential, healthcare, educational, and other commercial sectors,” he adds. “Private residential apartments and government housing complexes are the
prominent end-user segments contributing about 40% of the total GCC sanitary-ware market. “Residential sector growth is driving the market to the next level, especially in select counties like KSA, the UAE, and Qatar. Increasing hospitals and educational organisation developments in Qatar have resulted in 12% and 10% market share respectively,” divulges Ramesh. Toni El Kadi, area manager for Germanybased Duravit’s UAE, Qatar and Oman operations elaborates on the sector-wise demand for sanitary-ware products. “Each sector has a different, individual type of demand,” explains El Kadi. “The percentage varies constantly.” Currently, there is growth potential in the hospitality business due to the UAE becoming an international hub. Geographic markets are also contributing beneficially to the expanding, product-sensitive sanitary-ware market. “Dubai and Abu Dhabi are our main markets in the GCC,” says Sergio Raveyre, sales manager for the Middle East and French Overseas at France-based, Atlantic International. “We have been in the Middle East for over ten years, and are commercially present in all the region’s markets,
“THE GCC MARKET DEMAND FOR SANITARY-WARE AMOUNTED TO 15.6 MILLION PIECES IN 2013 AND IT IS LIKELY TO REACH 26.9 MILLION PIECES BY END OF 2018”
he GCC’s vast construction industry, with its many functions and services, is often impacted by seemingly simple factors – building materials, for instance. A report by Saudi daily Arab News claims while investment in construction could be up to $298.6 billion (SAR1.12 trillion) by 2016, some materials, such as sanitary-ware, are still not easily accessible in the market. “The lucrative sanitary-ware market is highly correlated with the construction sector growth,” says Kumar Ramesh, industry manager, environmental and building technologies practice (MENASA), Frost & Sullivan. “Within two decades since the inception of sanitary-ware production, the GCC became one of the prominent sanitary-ware hubs of the world. Moreover, the region has some of the world’s top manufacturers contributing about 6-7% of the world’s sanitary-ware production volume. The GCC market demand for sanitary-ware amounted to 15.6 million pieces in 2013 and it is likely to reach 26.9 million pieces by end of 2018. “The sanitary-ware market, a subset of the ceramic industry, will benefit from the dynamic growth and market penetration of the same industry to reach untapped market segments,” explains Ramesh. Viewed mostly as a design-driven functionality, sanitary-ware products are gradually expanding into a market of their own. Local production of sanitary-ware in the UAE and GCC has significantly reduced costs of imports from Asian and European markets, making it
MARKET REVIEW SANITARY-WARE
GCC Sanitary Ware Market Demand, 2013
n 44% Saudi n 29% UAE n 8% Qatar n 7% Kuwait n 7% Oman n 5% Bahrain INCREASED CAPACITIES The GCC is now in a position to export 35-45% of its output to the world.
Source: Frost & Sullivan analysis
including KSA, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and so on. “Our plans for the Middle East include the provision of products that allow the incorporation of solar energy,” he adds. Raveyre is not alone in his endeavour to increase the sustainability quotient of sanitaryware products. “Generally,” explains El Kadi, “the sanitary industry has been making a decisive contribution in terms of global sustainability targets for many years. The upcoming challenge will be to develop innovative solutions and to optimise existing technologies that are already on a very high level today.” UAE’s multiple sustainability frameworks – the most recent being Dubai’s Green Building Code – further the industry’s sentiment to include environment-friendliness at every stage of product development. “We constantly communicate with authorities to see how they seek to address the subject of sustainability,” says Raveyre. “Our products in Europe work on the principles of renewable energy, the most prominent source being solar heat.
“Because we are competing with sub-standard materials in the market – which are often lowpriced – it is difficult to show users the benefit of solar-powered sanitary-ware.” It may be argued that the low-priced, poor quality products Raveyre speaks of are what will prove detrimental to the region’s market for sanitary-ware. “Only a few ceramic producers are part of the market, which results in non-competitive pricing,” explains Ramesh. “Additionally, production and imports of low-quality and low-priced sanitary-ware from China poses stiff competition for domestic as well other highquality imported brands.” Raveyre believes governments in the region carry the onus to show the benefits of sustainable sanitary-ware. “The cost of water in the Gulf is relatively lower than in the rest of the world. Therefore, it becomes very difficult to convince the market to switch to renewable energy solutions, mostly because their advantages are only visible over the long-term,” continues Raveyre. “European governments, for instance, offer subsidies on
the usage of renewable energy, whereas it is only viewed as an added expense here. It is very difficult to address these problems in this region, and we don’t think people are ready to pay more for the sake of long-term economic benefits.��� Nevertheless, the region’s sanitary-ware market is in a strong position to produce for its demand. “The GCC is a hot spot for export of all international brands from Europe, China, Italy, and Spain,” says Ramesh. “The concentration of imports in the GCC has come down drastically to about 30-35% of total volume as compared to about 50-60% during 2010-2011. As a result, the GCC is now in a position to export about 35-45% of its production volume to the rest of the world.” It is evident from the industry responses that the region’s sanitary-ware market is set to grow – as local manufacturers multiply their scale of operations in an endeavour to meet the region’s demand, the influx of international brands, attracted to the region’s thriving construction boom, will ensure that the sanitary-ware market in GCC and the UAE maintains a parity between its demand-supply dynamics.
Water Saving • endurance • Hygiene Safety • acceSSibility commercial water controls Electronic mixers, taps & showers Time flow mixers, taps & showers Thermostatic mixing valves Frame systems
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accessiBilitY anD inDePenDence HYgienic steel accessories Stainless steel and Nylon grab bars and rails Shower seats Hygienic accessories for commercial and public places
COMMENT SHANI FOAD
Kuwait’s women project managers Kuwait’s Ministry of Public Works (MPW) has appointed Faithful+Gould to establish a world class Project Management Office. The training of local women professionals is an important part of the plan
CC economies have long been reliant on expatriate labour, but changes are on the way as governments seek improved long-term economic security and sustainability. Investing in the national population, ensuring they develop the best professional skills, is a priority for governments in the region. Expanding professional women’s participation in the workforce is also becoming more important. Many women in the region have traditionally gone overseas for higher education, with the US especially popular. This is slowly changing, as the gender gap closes on local university education. In nearly two thirds of Middle East countries, there are now more women than men in university according to United Nations statistics. This large pool of highly educated women does not always translate into greater equality in the workplace, but the expectations of women, their families and employers are now beginning to change.
"THE MPW TEAM’S EXPERIENCE WILL HOPEFULLY INSPIRE OTHER KUWAITI WOMEN TO ESTABLISH AND SUSTAIN SUCCESSFUL CAREERS IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY"
Kuwait’s Ministry of Public Works (MPW) demonstrates an excellent example of training opportunity for its women employees. Responsible for the planning, design and construction of most public sector capital projects, the Ministry is now embedding international best practice into its built environment systems. Faithful+Gould is training a team of 180 MPW professionals to manage and operate projects, as part of the Project Management Office (PMO) initiative that will bring a culture change to the Ministry. Ninety of MPW’s team are women, typically with two to five years’ professional experience. Most of the women are graduates (some with master’s degrees) in disciplines including architecture, civil engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering, and computer science. Some are now applying for PhD study. In the first phase of the 30-month project, Faithful+Gould partnered with Kuwait United Development and specialist sub-consultant CMCS to review MPW’s existing organisation and the methods used to manage its projects. A tailor-made Project Control System (PCS) has been developed as the second phase, centralising and standardising planning, design, procurement, construction and operation processes. An evaluation and continued training phase will ensure that the newly embedded system is understood and fully functional. Our team of 45 project managers are working
COMMENT SHANI FOAD
GIRL POWER Expanding the professional participation of women in the GCC workforce is becoming increasingly important.
management training they’re receiving. They also provide a great mutual support network for each other – a collaborative approach that helps women fulfil their potential in this traditionally male-dominated industry. The MPW women are determined to invest in their own training and self-development, which in turn invests in their country’s social and economic wellbeing. "In the long term, women could form a significant part of Kuwait’s construction talent pool. The MPW team’s experience will hopefully inspire other Kuwaiti women to establish and sustain successful careers in the construction industry. "My own career at Faithful+Gould and
Atkins gives me a great opportunity to model progression for women in Kuwait’s construction industry. The Atkins group has recently been listed in the 2013 Times Top 50 Employers for Women, demonstrating that the construction and engineering industries can offer good opportunities for women. It would be good to see more women in the Middle East – nationals and expatriates – being able to access careers in these industries and I hope we’ll see more employers like MPW leading the way." n
Shani Foad was the former Regional Learning and Development manager (Middle East and India) for Atkins and Faithful + Gould
closely with MPW to ensure significant legacy benefits. The resulting PMO capability will enable MPW to exercise ongoing control throughout the project lifecycle, including efficient operation and maintenance of completed projects. The training of MPW’s professionals is part of a wider initiative in Kuwait, where incoming consultancies are required to contribute to the country’s investment in training and development. On this project the training comprised 39 days of formal tuition, followed by 39 days of project-based training. Shani Foad, Faithful+Gould Learning and Development manager, commented: "The women in MPW’s team are especially enthusiastic and receptive to the project
PROJECT NAME: BURJEEL MEDICAL CITY PROJECT
BUDGET $327,000,000 REGION Abu Dhabi, UAE CLIENT LLH Group (Abu Dhabi) DESCRIPTION Construction of a Medical City comprising six towers dedicated to specific medical conditions, including (31) villas for long-term patients STATUS New Tender
PROJECT NAME: JEBAL EL ZAYT WIND FARM PROJECT
PROJECT NAME: SHAYBAH ARABIAN LIGHT CRUDE INCREMENT PROJECT
DESCRIPTION Construction of a 132/13.8
kV transformer station at Waad Al Shamal
STATUS Current Project
CLIENT Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC)
REGION Saudi Arabia CLIENT Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco)
PROJECT NAME: AL RAYYAN ROAD UPGRADE PROJECT
DESCRIPTION Engineering, Procurement and
Construction (EPC) contract for a light crude increment project
STATUS Current Project
CLIENT Public Works Authority - ASHGHAL
PROJECT NAME: WAAD AL SHAMAL TRANSFORMER STATION PROJECT
BUDGET $25,000,000 REGION Saudi Arabia CLIENT Saudi Electricity Company - Central
DESCRIPTION Construction of a 1000MW wing ram at Jebal El Zayt STATUS New Tender
DESCRIPTION Construction of a new road spanning 2.9 kilometres, consisting of four lanes in each direction, separated by a central median, in addition to 2 kilometres of side roads and associated service roads (approximately 5.8 kilometres) STATUS Current Project
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star Hard Rock Hotel comprising (5) basement levels, (4) podium levels, (32) floors and (4) levels of services STATUS New Project DESIGN CONSULTANT Aedas PROJECT MANAGER Confluence Project Management TENDER CATEGORIES Hotels, Prestige Buildings, Leisure & Entertainment TENDER PRODUCTS High-rise Towers, Hotel Construction
POLYMER PLANT PROJECT KIZAD
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PROJECT NUMBER WPR092-U CLIENT Polysys Additive Technologies Middle East CITY Abu Dhabi DESCRIPTION Construction of a new Polymer plant with initial production capacity of 7,000 tonnes STATUS Current Project MAIN ARCHITECT WH International (Abu Dhabi) MAIN CONTRACTOR System
SAUDI ARABIA TOWERS, CONVENTION CENTRE & SERVICE BUILDINGS PROJECT
PROJECT NUMBER MPP2855-SA CLIENT Rayadah Investment Company (Saudi Arabia) CITY Riyadh 11564 PHONE (+966-1) 205 9911 FAX (+966-1) 205 9922 EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org WEBSITE www.raid.com.sa DESCRIPTION Construction of three towers, a convention centre and related service buildings STATUS New Tender TENDER CATEGORIES Prestige Buildings, Construction & Contracting TENDER PRODUCTS Commercial Buildings, High-rise Towers
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MECCA BUS RAPID TRANSPORT SYSTEM PROJECT
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DESCRIPTION Carrying out expansion of an existing airport involving construction of a new terminal building along with other airport infrastructure such as a control tower, car parks and a mosque CLOSING DATE March 27, 2014 STATUS New Tender
WEBSITE www.holymakkah.gov.sa DESCRIPTION Development of Mecca Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) System covering a total length of 123 kilometres and (147) stations, including major highways and smaller local roads STATUS New Tender
PROJECT MANAGER Parsons Brinckerhoff International (Saudi Arabia) TENDER CATEGORIES Public Transportation Projects TENDER PRODUCTS Roads Construction, Roadways
IRAQ DESALINATION PLANT PROJECT - BASRA CITY
PROJECT NUMBER MPR1449-IQ CLIENT Ministry of Municipalities & Public Works (Iraq) CITY Baghdad EMAIL email@example.com WEBSITE www.mmpw.gov.iq DESCRIPTION Construction of a desalination plant with capacity of 200,000 cubic metres a day
QASSIM DOMESTIC AIRPORT EXPANSION PROJECT
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JORDAN BUDGET $115,000,000 PERIOD 2016 STATUS Current Project MAIN CONTRACTOR Veolia Water (France) MAIN CONTRACTOR 2 Hitachi Corporation (Japan) MAIN CONTRACTOR 3 Arabco for Construction (Egypt) TENDER CATEGORIES Water Works TENDER PRODUCTS Water Desalination Plants
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AQABA LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS TERMINAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECT
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EMAIL email@example.com WEBSITE www.adc.jo DESCRIPTION Construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Aqaba Economic Zone BUDGET $100,000,000 PERIOD 2015 STATUS Current Project SPECIALIST CONSULTANT Trowers & Hamlins (Dubai) SPECIALIST CONSULTANT 2 Tractebel Engineering (Belgium) MAIN CONTRACTOR Bam International (Netherlands) MAIN CONTRACTOR 2 MAG Contracting & Engineering (Jordan) MAIN CONTRACTOR 3 Target Engineering Construction Company L.L.C (Abu Dhabi) TENDER CATEGORIES Gas Processing & Distribution, Marine Engg. Works & Seaports TENDER PRODUCTS Gas Export/Import Terminal, Marine Civil Works
OMAN W HOTEL MUSCAT CONSTRUCTION PROJECT
PROJECT NUMBER MPP2873-O CLIENT Oman Tourism Development Company SAOC (Omran) CITY Muttrah PC 114 PHONE (+968) 2477 3700 FAX (+968) 2479 3929 EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org WEBSITE www.omran.om DESCRIPTION Construction of 5-star W Hotel Muscat consisting of (290) hotel rooms and suites, including (29) suites and a royal villa STATUS New Tender MAIN ARCHITECT COWI & Partners LLC (Oman)
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DIARY THE BIG-5 SAUDI 2014
HAPPENING THIS MONTH...
ON THE CORNICHE The home of The Big-5 Saudi is the dynamic city of Jeddah.
THE BIG-5 SAUDI 2014
BIG PROJECT ME PREVIEWS THE BIG-5 SAUDI SHOW WHICH CONTINUES TO BENEFIT FROM PROGRESS IN THE KINGDOM
THE BIG-5 SAUDI surpassed all expectations when it launched in 2011, and has continued to see phenomenal growth ever since. The event now encompasses the entire space of the Jeddah International Fairs and Exhibition Centre, as well as a purpose-built arena constructed onsite for the event and 3,000sqm of outdoor space. With 500 exhibitors in total – from 34 participating countries and national pavilions from Germany, Italy, Greece, China and Turkey – The Big-5 Saudi has established itself as a major regional event with a strong international reach. The growth of The Big-5 Saudi is reflective of the buoyant Saudi construction sector, with an estimated US$94,147 million of projects confirmed for 2014. Much of this spend will be focussed on the Western Region of the country, for which Jeddah is the key hub. The 2014 event will be the biggest year to date, with the launch of new features and opportunities for participants to find out more
about the latest technologies, innovations and solutions that can support faster, more efficient and more sustainable construction for the future. Also new for this year is The Big-5 Seminar Series, with a schedule of educational seminars with local, regional and international experts from across the industry, presenting their views on the latest trends and challenges, sharing best practice and taking part in panel discussions. The seminars will run under the overarching theme of sustainable construction, from materials, architecture and master planning, to presentations on best practice, including the King Abdullah University for Science & Technology (KAUST) and the White Sky iHouse, a revolutionary a zero-energy residential concept designed to integrate electric cars and wind powered gyrocopters. This free-to-attend series held over two days will kick off with a panel discussion titled Leaders in Construction, which will
feature Andrew Johnson of Mace Group, who is serving as project manager of Jeddah’s Kingdom Tower, which is set to unseat Dubai’s Burj Khalifa as the world’s tallest building, along with John G. Spitz, SVP, Saudi Arabia, Hill International; a global construction consultancy that handles over $40 billion in projects across the country. Also on the panel will be Jesdev Saggar, managing director for Capital Projects & Infrastructure, Deloitte; and Oliver Plunkett, Buro Happold’s Saudi Arabia country manager. In addition to the seminar series, The Big 5 Saudi will host a selection of four USGBC certified LEED workshops.
THE BIG-5 SAUDI 2014 n n n n n
When: 9-12 March, 2014, Jeddah Venue: Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events Tel: +966 2 667 3211 E-mail: email@example.com URL: www.thebig5saudi.com
Under the Patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Mansour bin Mutaib bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs.
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Time for Tough Questions The revelation that 455 Indian migrant workers have died over the last two years in Qatar raises significant concerns. It’s time to start asking the tough questions, says Gavin Davids
LATE IN FEBRUARY, the Indian government revealed that 455 Indian migrant workers in Qatar had died in 2012 and 2013. The news comes hard on the heels of the news that 191 Nepali workers had died over the course of the last year, taking the total number of deaths to 360 over the last two years. A number of those deaths were attributed to ‘unnatural’ heart failure, international media has reported. However, the Indian and Qatari governments have insisted that there is nothing abnormal about these figures, given the population in the GCC country. Furthermore, the Indian embassy in Qatar said that the ‘overwhelming number of deaths were due to natural causes’. The South East Asian country’s External Affairs Ministry has gone one step further and told the BBC that the “figures for the number of Indian deaths in the last five years remain consistent” and that they are “not in any way attributable to any one cause.” Despite these claims, human rights group, Amnesty International has urged the Indian government to give ‘more transparent information’ about the deaths, and provide more information as to their causes. In a statement, Nikhil Eapen, a spokesperson for Amnesty , said that he was concerned because the cause of the
deaths remained unclear: “What we need to know is who these people were – how old they were and what work they were doing – and how they died.” This information is important for everyone connected to the Qatar World Cup. In fact, I would say that it is vital that we know the details for this. Concerns have already been raised following the death toll amongst Nepali workers, and these latest figures do little to quell the unease that is growing. The Qatari government has responded to these revelations by publishing a ‘Workers Charter’, aimed at protecting the rights of migrant employees, but it is far too inadequate. Although this 50-page document has been developed in conjunction with the International Labour Organisation, the International Trade Union Confederation has said it does not go far enough.
Firstly, the charter only details the measures that Qatar’s World Cup Supreme Committee plans to enact while dealing with contractors and subcontractors over ‘key World Cup stadium and infrastructure projects’. This is all well and good, but it does not cover the thousands of other workers working on other associated projects around Doha. Nor does it deal with the independent and private projects currently underway. Who watches over them? Secondly, as detailed by Sharan Burrow, general secretary of ITUC, the charter’s standards are built on an “old, discredited, self-monitoring system that has failed in the past in Bangladesh and other countries, where thousands of workers have died.” Clearly then, all is not what it appears to be. Big Project ME has been and will continue to be vocal about these issues until something concrete is done to ensure these workers have adequate health and safety measures in place. In May 2014, the Oryx Rotana Hotel in Doha, Qatar, will be hosting the 2nd Annual Health, Safety and Worker Welfare Summit. We will be there, looking to ask some tough questions and get some hard answers. I look forward to seeing you all there.
“WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW IS WHO THESE PEOPLE WERE – HOW OLD THEY WERE AND WHAT WORK THEY WERE DOING – AND HOW THEY DIED”
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